Since the 2015 general election, the promised Tory EU referendum has been looming over our heads and the prime minister has managed to seize a deal with the other 27 leaders of the EU council which gives the UK, what David Cameron describes as “a special status” within the EU. The deal was reached when talks in Brussels ended after a planned “British breakfast” turned into a “British dinner”. The first cabinet meeting to be held on a Saturday since the Falkland war took place as the tired PM David Cameron arrived back from the negotiation table in Brussels and passed the deal by his ministers.
As the two-hour long discussion commenced, Government ministers were busy making up their minds as David Cameron pitched his reasons for why he believes Britain will be safer and stronger by staying in the EU. Despite the negotiated deal, the referendum date (23rd June 2016) seems to have allowed age old splits within the Conservative Party to resurface.
The prime minister’s close friend and Justice Secretary, Michael Gove declared his support for the ‘Brexit campaign’. However, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson stole the limelight when he declared that he will be campaigning for the UK to leave the EU. Other ‘Brexit’ campaigning ministers include: Chris Grayling, leader of the Commons; Priti Patel, employment minister; Ian Duncan Smith, work and pension secretary; Theresa Villiers, Northern Ireland secretary and John Whittingdale, the culture secretary.
On the other side of the Conservative spectrum we have the cabinet ministers who are supporting David Cameron and the ‘Bremain’ or ’In’ campaign including: George Osborne, Chancellor of the exchequer; Michael Fallon, Defence secretary; Theresa May, Home secretary; Nicky Morgan, minister for Education and Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary including others. Additionally, UKIP, leader Nigel Farage is campaigning to leave the EU mainly based on his party’s views of EU immigration rules, which have not changed sufficiently with David Cameron’s new deal. Farage joins a team of politicians from various parties who are members of the ‘Grassroots out (GO)’ organisation campaigning to leave the EU. Also, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party has stated that Cameron’s deal could have been better and could have touched more on the issues people care about, but he will however, be campaigning for the UK to stay part of the EU.
Though there are plenty of arguments coming from both sides of the spectrum, Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary who is campaign to stay in the EU, argues that by leaving the EU the security of the UK will be compromised. Whereas Boris Johnson, London Mayor, argues that Britain has a chance to find a greater future outside of the EU.
The pressure now shifts onto the public as the crucial vote now lies within the hands of the British people who will have to make a big decision as to whether the UK should remain within the EU or whether it should withdraw its membership.